9/11 commision report

  1. 1. On pages 71-73, the report describes four significant features of the 1993 report that are relevant for 9/11. What are these features? What strengths and weaknesses of the foreign policy bureaucracy do they illustrate? What are the strengths of the US during that time in dealing with terrorism (the 1993 bombing) and how did this mask bureaucratic weaknesses? What were the primary concerns of local FBI field offices before the 9/11 attacks? (p. 74) How does this illustrate the bureaucratic culture of the FBI?
    • · 4 features:
    • o Bombing signaled new terrorist threat, rage and malice had no limit
    • o FBI and Justice did excellent work investigating, within days identified truck remnant part of renal van. Successful use of legal system to address first world trade center bombing had side effect of obscuring the need to examine the character and extent of the new threat facing US, didn’t bring bin laden network to attention
    • o Bombing heightened awareness of new awareness of new terrorist danger, successful prosecutions contributed to widespread underestimation of the threat o Field offices: performance measured against statistics such as number of arrests, indictments, prosecutions, convictions / also concerns centered on traditional crimes such as white collar offenses and those pertaining to drugs and gangs, report said none were operating at peak capacity
    • Treated it as a crime
    • Connected it to states threat harbor – hard to know which
    • Cultural red-tape, FBI didn’t share info even w/ each other
  2. 1. Condoleezza Rice cited two structural reasons for the US failure to ‘connect the dots’ leading up to the 9/11 attacks: legal impediments and bureaucratic impediments. She emphasizes the legal impediments. What does she mean by this? Citing the report (75), indicate what some of the cultural and historical reasons are for “this country…having an allergy to domestic intelligence” (Hook, 159). Are there good reasons for this ‘allergy’? Is her blame on legal impediments over bureaucratic impediments apt and convincing? Which of these two impediments does the 9/11 report emphasize?
    • Legal – allergies, Americans disinclined to change laws to give up civil liberties.
    • BU- congress unwilling to fund any more expansion of the federal BU up until 9/11
    • Reasons for allergy – hoover, anyone who’s precived as theat (legal)
  3. 1. The commission report lists several attempts by the FBI to adjust and adapt to the new terrorism threats (p. 76-78). Why were these attempts to change the bureaucratic culture, mission and priorities of the FBI unsuccessful? Are there structural constraints that prevented the FBI from changing? How might the bureaucratic complex and the traditional role of the Bureau prevent agency change?
    • · Budget office didn’t want to shift funds
    • · Didn’t press new views on terrorism on field offices
    • · Not enough human resources
    • · Resistance from senior managers in operational divisions,
    • · Analysts didn’t shift priorities
    • · Didn’t have an effective intelligence collection effort
    • · Information systems woefully inadequate
    • · 1978 act that made FISA warrants necessary
  4. 1. The FAA aviation security rules were designed to produce a ‘layered’ system of security. Any one failure would not be fatal because others would provide back-up security (intelligence, prescreening, checkpoint, onboard security, etc.) (p. 83). Much like the overlapping and different agencies of the US security system, these layered defenses failed to prevent 9/11. What are the bureaucratic explanations for this failure? How do the multiple agencies in charge of US security form a layered defense system and in what ways do they fail to back each other up? Examine the FAA failures described on pgs. 83-86 and find appropriate parallels to bureaucratic failure in the foreign policy arena.
    • Suicide flights not accounted for
    • Expected the CIA & FBI to willingly GIVE info to FAA
    • CAPS only selected those caring baggage, no extra checks
  5. 1. The Commission report analysis of the security agencies finds them ill-equipped for the ‘new’ terrorism threat. How does the report describe the bureaucratic cultures and viewpoints of the CIA, State Dept and DOD in particular (p. 93-98)? How does this reflect long-standing conflicts and differences between these security agencies (especially the State Dept and DOD) and in what ways does it explain intelligence failures? What are the competing cultures of these agencies?
    • State was pushed to the sidelines a little by pentagon and even ambassadors made connections through CIA and pentagon
    • · State dominated by regional bureaus
    • · State screening system didn’t catch terrorists since had holes
    • · DoD, inter branch competition, transfer of planning and command responsibilities from service chiefs and staffs to joint and unified commands in Washington
    • · DoD, 1993 somalia curbed humanitarian cause appetite and caused us to only consider with careful preparation and planning,
    • · DoD, wrongly thought that air and missile strikes could curb terrorists appetite and their sponsors
  6. 2. Using some of the historical examples from the readings (p. 98 for example), what lessons were drawn from historical experiences with terrorism about how to counter terrorism before 9/11? What lessons should have been drawn?
    - wrongly thought could be treated criminally- 1993 trade world bombing - air strikes against Libya, we thought we won and curbed appetite, wrongly
  7. 1. How did counterterrorism ‘evolve’ in the White house? What was the relationship between this evolution and the dynamic of executive vs. legislative power?
    • Evolved from cold war mentality, and the view of Soviet as primary threat ( symmetrical warfare/ state sponcerd terror) until we realized that stateless actors existed in trade center bombing.
    • Congress not allowing anything with teeth or funds, afraid of effect on passenger inconvenience
    • · Cold war mentality, symmetric warfare, new enemy discovered in trade center bombing in 93, we did so good we thought it was handled, stateless actors · transition clinton to bush: large human component, counterterrorism was pushed to the side with bush, bush’s emphasis was domestically, did keep the same people on the terrorism case and didn’t want too much change,
  8. 2. The 9/11 Commission report explains the transition from the Clinton Whitehouse to the Bush administration in 2000. Which aspects of this transition reveal the structural consistencies of the executive branch and which demonstrate the human element? How did the transition affect counterterrorism efforts? What does this tell us about the executive office and agency coordination and what does it tell us about the role of particular individuals?
    • Rushed transition
    • positions reveal consistency
    • · human element was Clinton Whitehouse continued to look at it domestically, republican congress prevented sweeping reforms for counter terrorism
    • · biggest difference was ability to act, Clinton was handicapped with not having strong enough intelligence, bush just went in after being attacked
    • · rushed transition, not truly briefed and not full understanding maybe of terrorism
  9. 3. What are the advantages of Presidential power and how did they manifest immediately following the 9/11 attacks? List the various ways that Presidents have an advantage in foreign policy making.
    • o commander in chief
    • o Appointing advisers
    • o Introducing treaties
    • o Veto/approve acts by congress
    • o Presidential pardon
    • o Create organizations/ bureaucracies
    • o Appoint judges/ambassadors
    • o Diplomacy
    • · what are advantages of president in decision making: is commander in chief and with war has more powers, able to select people he wants around him- both good an bad, executive order or informal power is useful since congress opposing it is bad for public image, power to set agenda carries enormous weight, envisions broad war on terror that includes states, 24 hour access to both advisors and media,
  10. 4. How did the decision-making environment change from President Clinton to President Bush as described in the section on change and continuity in the 9/11 commission report? What were the dominant perceived threats and how did the transition effect counterterrorism efforts?
    • Wasn’t as invested in getting al qa’ida till after the fact
    • · Iraq
    • · Clarke was demoted, couldn’t go straight to president, and condalizza wasn’t necessarily able to go directly to president either
    • · New advisors maybe not fully briefed
    • Didn’t give bush adm the amount of time nessacry to get a team together to conter th theat of al Q. Clinton lisened to dick clark for soultions, but did approach the burrocary for problems.
  11. 5. President Bush established a new White House entity—the Homeland Security Council paralleling the National Security Council on Sep. 20, 2001. What led to such urgent need for a new agency? What breakdowns were apparent and associated with the old system?
    • Due to a break down in communication, lead to new dept whoms role was to increase communication about security issues
    • · Needed to look productive
    • · Obviously there was not communication between different bureaucracies making up fed government
    • · Trying to consolidate
    • · Homeland security council and reform: failings in FBI/CIA areas, proactive public image, underdeveloped CTC, not able to intervene, much narrower basis on domestic security, couldn’t connect the dots, culture clashes
  12. 6. How did the President ‘set the agenda’ immediately following 9/11 (p. 330)? What factors contribute to the President’s ability to effectively set the foreign policy agenda and how did the issue get framed by the Bush administration that set the course for the coming response to the attacks?
    • Make no differene b/t harborers and terrorists, threat to American values
    • We must go into afganisan at prasidents wishes, NATO – attack one attack all
    • · We will punish not just aggressors, but those who harbor them
    • · Guess his presidential powers
    • · NSC helped advise
    • · Could divide responsibilities
    • · setting the agenda, how does president do this and assert his agenda: listed state sponsors of terrorism as examples,
  13. 7. What agencies and actors were involved in drawing up the war plans against Afghanistan? Looking at the report (335-338), identify the major actors and decision-makers that contributed to this outcome. What does this say about the executive’s ability to direct foreign policy in wartime?
    • DOD
    • CIA
    • NSC
    • wolfawich
    • Bush
    • Chaney
    • Connie
    • Blair
Card Set
9/11 commision report
questions from IR 310